Free Things to Do in Boston This Weekend

All the best free things to do, events, and more around Boston this weekend.

Sally Michel, Bucolic Landscape. / Photo courtesy of Childs Gallery


Mad Men Style: Mid-Century Modern Posters

Named after the iconic TV drama Mad Men, this exhibition features posters that exemplified the artistic style of the 50s and 60s. Riding high on post-World War confidence, the poster artists on display relied on pops of color and a playful style to sell products—from a cartoon cat selling Zwicky red yarn to a sultry woman sipping Linherr Vermouth Bianco.

10 a.m.-6 p.m., International Poster Gallery, 460C Harrison Ave., Suite C20, Boston.

The Future of the Past: Art and Activism

For the past six years, Lesley University has partnered with the art activism nonprofit Violence Transformed to put together a series of exhibits that addresses violence on a local and global scale. This year’s theme touches on the power of artists to turn a mirror on society, forcing us to rethink the kind of world we live in.

10 a.m.-6 p.m., Lesley University, Marran Gallery, 34 Mellen St., Cambridge.

Sally Michel: Idyllic Moments

Painter Sally Michel was an expert at eliciting joy. Her paintbrush, ever-daubed with bright and inviting colors, crafted pleasant beachside scenes, everyday objects and quiet moments with family and friends. Because Michel’s paintings were kept private during her lifetime, this exhibit feels like an uninhibited glimpse into the peaceful moments that defined her life.

11 a.m.-5 p.m., Childs Gallery, 169 Newbury St., Boston.

Posters on display at the International Poster Gallery’s new exhibit, Mad Men Style: Mid-Century Modern Posters. / Photo copyright International Poster Gallery


Gardener’s Gathering

Hosted by the nation’s first preservation and conservation nonprofit, this convention of leading experts in urban gardening will feature guest speakers, workshops and community networking to help seasoned experts and gardening amateurs alike gain new growing knowledge. Hear from Aziz Dehkan, the executive director of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, take a workshop on urban beekeeping or herbal medicine and meet other gardeners passionate about this year’s theme: resilience in the face of climate change.

10 a.m.-5 p.m., Northeastern University, Shillman Hall, 115 Forsyth St., Boston, and The Egan Center, 120 Forsyth St., Boston.

Pups & Brews

Calling all furry friends and their two-legged companions! Local adoptable dogs from Broken Tails Rescue are converging on the Studio Allston Hotel for a day full of belly-scratches and adoption forms. Don’t forget to pack some spare change—a donation jar on site will raise money for a pitbull named Macho in need of mouth surgery.

2:30 p.m.-6 p.m., Studio Allston Hotel, 1234 Soldiers Field Rd., Boston.

South End Stringfest

Part of the Celebrity Series of Boston’s Neighborhood Arts collaboration, this free musical performance is headlined by the Soul Yatra Trio, a bluegrass and world music group made up of musicians Mike Block, Sandeep Das and Shaw Pong Liu. Also on the lineup: Boston String Academy and the Josiah Quincy Orchestra.

3 p.m., More Than Words, 242 East Berkeley St., 2nd Floor, Boston.


This all-female festival screens outstanding animated films made by a diverse group of women representing ten different countries on four continents. Using a variety of 2D and 3D animation styles, the twelve films on deck this year feature everything from funerals and aging to talking cows and gambling forest animals. For this special encore screening of the festival shorts, viewers will have a chance to vote for their favorite films and listen to a special soundtrack of all-female tunes played by DJ Madame B.

3 p.m., Massachusetts College of Art and Design, DMC Lecture Hall, 621 Huntington Ave., Boston.

Bow Market in Somerville. / Photo by Emily Tirella


Maker Supply Market

Organized by Emily Tirella, owner of Bow Market’s Make & Mend, this pop-up market reflects what her secondhand shop does best: repurposing used art supplies. Jam-makers, ceramicists, screen-printers and more will set up shop in the Market’s Comedy Studio so passerby can browse secondhand supplies at a discounted rate. After checking out the wares on display, head to the velvety Canopy Room for free adult arts and crafts, including collage-making, friendship bracelets and even a customizable snail mail station.

11 a.m.-3 p.m., Bow Market, 1 Bow Market Way, Somerville.

Cafe Raqs

On the last Sunday of every month, dancers of all levels converge on the Arts at the Armory cafe for a performance of traditional belly dance and Tribal dance styles. Support experienced local dancers and help newcomers get a leg up in the dance scene by filling the audience for this community performance.

7:30 p.m.-9 p.m., Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville.